PERFORMANCE HORSES

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SELECTING AND STARTING PROSPECTS
By Hallie Melvin-Hanssen

            
   I would like to concentrate on the process of selecting and starting prospects. When I visit with people about selecting a futurity prospect, I advise them to first look at what region they would like to campaign their prospect in. I find this important because of all the breeders’ futurities and incentives that are now available.  These incentives and futurities offer opportunities to run at extra bonus money.

            The most important aspect to me when selecting a prospect would be pedigree.  Today pedigree is proven in the futurity industry.  I’m not saying that a horse that isn’t a “name brand” cannot go out there and win, because that happens too. But your odds increase when you have proven bloodlines. I also feel your odds increase, when you ride a prospect out of a proven producing mare. Proven mares generally can be crossed on many different stallions and still produce a winner. I like a horse that cinches deep, moves softly across the ground, and has a big nice kind eye and willingness to learn.

            Once I get a prospect home I want them to have a good solid foundation.  I like to ride behind a cutting horse trainer because it fits my style of riding best. The key element to my training program is repetition and consistency. I keep things simple and consistent for my colts. I train my colts to go to the same spots every time. I keep my hands and seat the same when I walk, trot and lope the barrels. I find that consistency in your training builds confidence in your horses.

            All horses are individuals but there are some basic practices that I use on a majority of them. My horses need to be very broke. I consider broke as soft in the mouth and a supple body.  They need to be able to cross over in the front and stay soft in the face and body when doing so.  I don’t want a horse to spin like a reining horse. I need them to be able to cross over and keep a forward motion. I want the inside hind leg to reach up and across. I find this to be a very important move for a barrel horse to do.

             I would like to thank my sponsors, Woody’s Feed, Advanced Protection Formula, Formula 707, and South Grove Tack for believing in my program.

Courtesy Hallie Melvin
www.MelvinRanch.com
© Reprint BHHLLC 2015